Tag Archives: Drilling

1st March 2012 Interview to N. Kehrwald

nat-kehr

How did you happen to take part in scientific expeditions in extreme environments?

I vividly remember the first time that I saw a mountain over 6000 meters in elevation. I was invited to be a member of a mountaineering expedition in Perù, and when we first arrived, I was scanning the horizon for the mountains that we were going to climb. I was used to 4000 m mountains in Colorado, and so I immediately began looking at a certain altitude. I had to keep looking higher and higher, and when I eventually saw the summit I mumbled something along the lines of, “We are going to climb THAT?!”.  The immensity of the mountains and glaciers give an impression of a very permanent presence.

18 October – The outcome

Below is a short summary report of what happened on the Ortler project over the course of the last month.

Between 23 September and6 October 2011, four ice cores were extracted at 3,860 metres from the “Vedretta Alta dell’Ortles” glacier in South Tyrol. This is the first time ice cores have been extracted from the Eastern Alps. The rock, which lies 75 metres below the glacier, was reached during three of the extractions, whereas during the last operation, perforation only reached 60 metres.

4 October 2011 – …and a THIRD!

Yesterday the researchers and technicians were able to extract another ice core from the summit glacier of the Ortler mountain. For the third time within just a few days they were able to reach the rocks on which the glacier lies.

This time, not only the climatic but also the perforation conditions were particularly favourable. Since the upper layers only contained little melt water, which therefore did not obstruct the hole, the perforation was faster.

29th September – One – nil !

One – nil!

This is the result of the match currently being played between researchers and nature on the “pitch” located on the Ortler glacier, at 3,850 metres.Yesterday the perforation system reached 74 metres depth and extracted an ice core from the glacial soil, the part that lies directly on the rock. This can clearly be proven by the fact that the lower glacier layer contains rock fragments. 

But it has not been easy.

27th September – First match point

Almost there.

The good climatic conditions of the last few days meant the researchers were able to accelerate the ice core drilling operations. The top of the ice core drilling system is currently located at a depth of 70 metres below the surface of the glacier. According to georadar measurements made in recent years (2008, 2009, 2010), the glacier’s depth was estimated at not more than 75 metres.

This is the “first match point” of our little adventure, as Paolo Gabrielli, team coordinator, told us, slightly moved, yesterday.